Clinton 317
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Trump 221
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Click for Senate
Dem 49
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GOP 51
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  • Strongly Dem (187)
  • Likely Dem (77)
  • Barely Dem (53)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (53)
  • Likely GOP (66)
  • Strongly GOP (102)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
Dem pickups vs. 2012: NC
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA NV OH

Top Democrats Have No Confidence in Comey

The soon-to-be-top Senate Democrat, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said of FBI Director James Comey: "I do not have confidence in him any longer." Schumer has questioned the timing of Comey's announcement about finding more of Hillary Clinton's e-mails just 11 days before the election. In addition, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also chimed in with: "Maybe he's not in the right job." President Obama also criticized Comey yesterday (see below). With so many top Democrats now expressing no confidence in Comey, he is clearly in for a rough time ahead. (V)

Obama: We Don't Operate on Innuendo

Yesterday, President Obama weighed in on the announcement of FBI Director James Comey saying: "I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don't operate on innuendo, and we don't operate on incomplete information, and we don't operate on leaks." Obama didn't mention Comey by name but made it clear that he was referring to Comey. Obama's spokesman, Eric Schulz, made it clear that the President, at least, was not going to comment on an ongoing FBI investigation.

Comey may already be dead meat. Although FBI directors are appointed to 10-year terms, ultimately they serve at the pleasure of the president and can be fired by same for any reason or no reason at all. In 1993, President Clinton fired FBI Director William Sessions, saying he was unable to effectively lead the agency. Obama could fire Comey any time up to the morning of Jan. 20, 2017, or a President Clinton could do so at any time. Comey may yet come to regret his actions. (V)

Clinton Indictment Reportedly "Likely"

Two FBI officials, speaking off the record, told Fox News that it was "likely" that Hillary Clinton would be indicted as a result of her involvement with the Clinton Foundation. The anonymous sources declared that the ongoing investigation is a "very high priority" and that "there is an avalanche of new information coming every day."

This report should, of course, be taken with a massive grain of salt. There are many people, within the FBI and without, who stand to gain from Clinton's reverses. It is easy enough to imagine someone fudging a story like this, particularly when protected by the cloak of anonymity, and it's also difficult to see what kind of indictable offense Clinton might have committed. Granting meetings with big donors, aka pay-to-play, may be unsavory-looking, but it's not illegal. Finally, since the investigation is ostensibly still underway, and since indictments are issued by a grand jury and not by FBI officials, it's rather doubtful that anyone is now in the position to make this prediction.

This story is not of much interest, then, as a predictor of future events. Its greatest significance, at least at the moment, is what it tells us about the current state of the FBI. Assuming Fox is not lying about their sources, then the custom of the FBI's not trying to influence elections has died a very quick death, indeed. The agents doing the leaking may be doing Comey's bidding, or they may be acting of their own accord, but either way he bears responsibility. The buck stops with him, to borrow a line from Harry S. Truman, and Comey has very clearly created an environment where agents (some of them, at least) are putting partisanship over professionalism. Just more reason that it's hard to see the Director keeping his job much beyond the election. (Z)

GOP Congressmen Predict a Constitutional Crisis

Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Peter King (R-NY) clearly all read this week's GOP talking points memo, because they all used nearly identical language this week when predicting that Hillary Clinton was headed for impeachment due to her supposedly imminent FBI indictment. "I would hate to see this country being thrown into a constitutional crisis because of Hillary Clinton's behavior," said McCaul, while Gohmert opined that, "We would really have a constitutional crisis," and King declared, "You really could have a constitutional crisis here."

Needless to say, this is all hogwash. Predicting impeachment and conviction when there's not even yet an indictment (or much evidence that there's even going to be one) is putting the cart before the horse. Further, the GOP may be able to put together the 218 votes in the House needed to instigate impeach proceedings, and they may be able to stage a trial in the Senate, but they are never going to get the 67 Senatorial votes needed to convict, given that it would take roughly 17 Democratic votes to get the job done.

McCaul, Gohmert, and King do have one thing right, however—the U.S. is indeed flirting with a constitutional crisis. Not over Hillary Clinton's actions, but over those of the GOP, whose members are growing increasingly comfortable using impeachment threats as a cudgel with which to bludgeon their enemies. The framers intended impeachment to be a nuclear option, to be used in only the most severe of circumstances. In all of American history, only fifteen judges have ever been impeached, and only eight of those were removed from office. They are joined by only two presidents—Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton—and both of those cases were of questionable merit. The problem is that attacking a president in this way may be intended to weaken the person, but it also weakens the underlying institution. So too do other instances of obeying the letter of the law but not its spirit, as with the SCOTUS seat. Presumably, the Republicans will again claim the White House at some point in the future so they should really keep that in mind before striking at the very foundations of the republic. (Z)

Trump Viewed as More Honest than Clinton

In a new WaPo/ABC News poll Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton on the question of whether the candidate is honest and trustworthy by a margin of 46% to 38%. In September, the two were tied on this issue. Clinton's drop here is due to Democrats trusting her less, going from 86% to 76%. On the question of whether they disapprove of her handling of her e-mail, 59% disapprove, but this is about the same as the 60% who disapproved before James Comey's announcement last Friday. This is a mixed result in terms of the effect of the announcement. (V)

Trump Raised $100 Million in Small Donations in October

Yesterday, Donald Trump announced that he raised $100 million in small donations in October. The number of donors was 1.6 million. This puts the average donation at $62. (V)

Judge to Rule on Voter Purges in North Carolina

U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs heard an emergency lawsuit yesterday challenging the practice of several North Carolina counties' purging voters, especially black voters, from the list of registered voters. At issue is a state law that allows voters to challenge other voters and have them removed. The judge did not rule yesterday, but did say that she saw the practice as "outmoded" and "insane." Nearly 6,700 voters have been challenged and removed in the past 2 years, mostly in Cumberland County, which is 35% black. The judge indicated that a ruling will be forthcoming shortly. (V)

Republicans Have Given Up Trying to Win in the Cities

Although Donald Trump is probably the most urban president in history, having been born in Queens and currently living in a skyscraper on Fifth Avenue, he—and the rest of the Republican ticket—have basically given up on winning in the nation's cities. Trump, as well as Sarah Palin before him, have depicted the cities as ungovernable, crime-ridden hellholes. During the primaries, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) accused Trump of having "New York values." This is not the best way to win votes in the nation's urban centers. The Republican base is largely in rural areas, which is a dangerous strategy since these areas are losing population while the cities are growing.

What the split is really about is race. Urban areas have large minority populations whereas most rural ones do not. And this is becoming more pronounced over time. The downside for Republicans is that they are increasingly unpopular where most of the people live, making it harder to win presidential contests. On the other hand, since most of the land area of the United States is rural, the Republicans do well in the House, helped along by gerrymandering. But in the long run, giving up on the cities is not a winning strategy for the GOP. (V)

Newspaper Owned by Trump's Son-in-Law Won't Endorse Him

Jared Kushner, who is married to Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, owns the New York Observer, a weekly newspaper that covers culture, media, entertainment, and politics. Yesterday, the editor-in-chief, Ken Kurson, announced that the paper will not endorse anyone for president. Among other New York newspapers, the Daily News and The New York Times have endorsed Hillary Clinton. The New York Post has not endorsed anyone (yet).

Kushner has been one of Trump's closest advisers during the entire campaign, so the lack of an endorsement is slightly surprising. (V)

Trump vs. Tur

Donald Trump is probably best known for his hair and his hotels, but not far behind those on the list are his feuds, which tend to be both numerous and epic. Apparently having tired of the Khan family, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Megyn Kelly, The Donald has chosen a new target for his wrath: NBC News reporter Katy Tur.

Tur, who is part of the press train assigned to the Trump campaign, has been called out by name at more than one Trump rally. At one time, he called her a "third-rate journalist," and at another he told her to "be quiet." On Wednesday, The Donald—apparently locked into a MarcoBot style feedback loop—declared, "There's something happening. They're not reporting it. Katy—you're not reporting it, Katy. But there's something happening, Katy. There's something happening, Katy." On each of these occasions, the result of Trump's taunting has been harassment of Tur by Trump supporters, to the point that she sometimes fears for her safety. It is entirely unclear what Tur has done to cause herself to be singled out.

This is yet another illustration of how Trump seems to treat women. It's also a reminder that if Trump does win the White House, it will be a major blow to a free and independent press. The list of reporters barred from the White House Briefing Room could soon be longer than the list of French military defeats. (Z)

Legality of Ballot Selfies Depends on Where You Live

Some people like to take photos of themselves with their completed ballots and then post them to social media sites. In 18 states, such photos are illegal. In another 18 states they are legal. In the rest, the law is unclear, as shown below.

selfie map

The idea that states had when they passed laws prohibiting ballots selfies is to prevent vote buying. One problem the vote buyer always has is proof that he is getting what he paid for. Ballot selfies solve that problem (sort of). By banning them, the state reasons that it is making it harder to sell votes. But even a selfie isn't ironclad proof of how someone voted. The voter can mark the ballot, take a photo of it, then intentionally spoil the ballot, turn it in, and ask for a new one. The buyer would have no way of knowing this. The issue is contentious and there are court cases in several states. (V)

Bettors Are Betting on Trump

The Irish bookie Paddy Power has reported that in the past 48 hours, 91% of the new bets have been on Donald Trump to win the presidency. That said, the odds Paddy Power is offering imply a 73% chance that Clinton will win and a 31% chance that Trump will win. The numbers don't add to 100% due to the bookie's take (the vig). (V)

Cubs Win the World Series

Down 3-1 and seemingly out of luck just five days ago, the Chicago Cubs rallied to take the last three games of the World Series, for a 4-3 triumph over the Cleveland Indians. The final game was one for the ages, featuring a late comeback by Cleveland, a rain delay, and extra innings.

What does this have to do with politics (other than the fact that the Ricketts family, major GOP donors, own the Cubs)? Well, it turns out that there is an interesting pattern. Every time the Cubs win the World Series in an election year, the Republican candidate goes on to take the White House. This has held true for more than a century—108 years, to be exact. So, it could be Donald Trump's year after all. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

Mostly good news for Clinton today. If these numbers hold, her coattails could secure a Democratic senate for her to work with for two years. Nevertheless, only a few of the polls were held entirely after last Friday's FBI letter. (Z)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Arizona 43% 47% 2% Oct 29 Oct 31 Emerson Coll.
Arizona 44% 49% 5% Oct 27 Nov 01 Opinion Research
Colorado 39% 39% 5% Oct 29 Oct 31 Ciruli Assoc.
Colorado 44% 41% 8% Oct 28 Oct 31 Emerson Coll.
Florida 46% 45% 2% Oct 27 Nov 01 Quinnipiac U.
Florida 49% 47% 3% Oct 27 Nov 01 Opinion Research
Georgia 42% 51% 2% Oct 29 Oct 31 Emerson Coll.
Kansas 38% 49% 7% Oct 26 Oct 30 SurveyUSA
Michigan 47% 28% 11% Sep 01 Oct 30 Michigan State U.
Missouri 37% 50% 4% Nov 01 Nov 02 PPP
Missouri 37% 52% 5% Oct 28 Oct 31 Emerson Coll.
North Carolina 47% 44% 3% Oct 27 Nov 01 Quinnipiac U.
Nevada 43% 49% 5% Oct 27 Nov 01 Opinion Research
Ohio 41% 46% 5% Oct 27 Nov 01 Quinnipiac U.
Pennsylvania 48% 43% 3% Oct 27 Nov 01 Quinnipiac U.
Pennsylvania 48% 44% 3% Oct 29 Nov 01 Monmouth U.
Pennsylvania 48% 44% 4% Oct 27 Nov 01 Opinion Research
Virginia 41% 44%   Oct 26 Oct 30 Hampton University
Virginia 44% 39% 5% Oct 23 Oct 30 Winthrop U.
Wisconsin 46% 40% 4% Oct 26 Oct 31 Marquette Law School

Today's Senate Polls

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) appears to be making a late surge in his race against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Will the wave crest before Election Day? Maybe, maybe not. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Arizona Ann Kirkpatrick 40% John McCain* 46% Oct 29 Oct 31 Emerson Coll.
Arizona Ann Kirkpatrick 41% John McCain* 54% Oct 27 Nov 01 Opinion Research
Colorado Michael Bennet* 47% Darryl Glenn 42% Oct 28 Oct 31 Emerson Coll.
Colorado Michael Bennet* 48% Darryl Glenn 40% Oct 29 Oct 31 Ciruli Assoc.
Florida Patrick Murphy 48% Marco Rubio* 49% Oct 27 Nov 01 Opinion Research
Georgia Jim Barksdale 40% Johnny Isakson* 48% Oct 29 Oct 31 Emerson Coll.
Missouri Jason Kander 45% Roy Blunt* 45% Oct 28 Oct 31 Emerson Coll.
Nevada Catherine Cortez-Masto 47% Joe Heck 49% Oct 27 Nov 01 Opinion Research
Pennsylvania Katie McGinty 47% Pat Toomey* 44% Oct 29 Nov 01 Monmouth U.
Pennsylvania Katie McGinty 51% Pat Toomey* 46% Oct 27 Nov 01 Opinion Research
Wisconsin Russ Feingold 45% Ron Johnson* 44% Oct 26 Oct 31 Marquette Law School

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Nov02 How Predictive Are the Polls One Week Out?
Nov02 Don't Read Too Much Into Polling Changes
Nov02 Seven Questions about Turnout Could Determine Who Wins
Nov02 Early Voting Tells Some Important Tales
Nov02 Another Former President May Be Voting for Clinton
Nov02 Weld Defends Clinton
Nov02 Clinton Raises $11 Million after FBI Announcement
Nov02 Union Workers Could Hand the Election to Trump
Nov02 Trump Asks Early Clinton Voters to Change Their Vote
Nov02 Sleeping Like the Enemy
Nov02 House Freedom Caucus to Hold Secret Meeting Today
Nov02 Republicans Have a Good Senate Map in 2018
Nov01 Sheldon Adelson Set to Donate $25 Million to Trump's Campaign
Nov01 Trump Stiffs His Pollster
Nov01 Trump Avoided Taxes by Stretching a Loophole
Nov01 Last Four Attorneys General Have Now All Criticized Comey
Nov01 Girl Who Starred in the Daisy Ad Makes a New One
Nov01 Kasich Votes for John McCain
Nov01 Computer Scientists Uncovered a Digital Hotline between Trump Servers and Moscow
Nov01 Donna Brazile Gave Clinton a Debate Question in Advance
Nov01 Brazile Shouldn't Be the Only One to Go
Nov01 Schumer Is Helping Democratic Senate Candidates
Nov01 Democratic Senate Candidates Get a Black Eye
Nov01 Desperate Times Apparently Call for Desperate Measures
Oct31 A Third of All Voters Less Likely to Support Clinton Due to FBI Announcement
Oct31 Comey May Find Himself Out of a Job
Oct31 A President Clinton Would Have a Very Tense Relationship with FBI Director Comey
Oct31 Early Votes Favor Clinton
Oct31 Trump Moving Back to Blue States
Oct31 Trump Encourages Supporters to Vote Again
Oct31 A Quarter of All Adults Are Not Registered to Vote
Oct31 Senate Hangs in the Balance
Oct31 Trump Has Changed Dating
Oct31 The Decline and Fall of Chris Christie
Oct30 Comey's Announcement Shocks Former Prosecutors
Oct30 E-Mails Look Like Much Ado About Nothing
Oct30 Four Ways Forward for Clinton
Oct30 Democrats Vigorously Attack Comey
Oct30 GOP Braces for a Multidimensional Civil War
Oct30 Obama Got Zero Votes in at Least 38 Precincts in 2012
Oct30 Voter Fraud Is Already Underway
Oct30 About Those Odds-of-Winning Projections
Oct30 Trump 2020?
Oct30 Who Owns Trump's E-mail List?
Oct30 The Funniest Political Ad of the Year
Oct30 Comey's Announcement Shocks Former Prosecutors
Oct30 E-Mails Look Like Much Ado About Nothing
Oct30 Four Ways Forward for Clinton
Oct30 Democrats Vigorously Attack Comey
Oct30 Trump Bragged about his Philanthropy but Gave Little